24 September, 2011

After Bomb is Dropped, Nanny's Jaw Follows

opinion 2 Hello! I'm 23 yr old college grad who recently became disillusioned with my career path in marketing and decided to try something completely different by responding to a Craigslist ad for a decently paying, live-out nanny gig. Upon calling the listed number, I spoke with a woman who informed me that this family was fabulously wealthy (multiple times) and required a full-time nanny who spoke fluent German. So far, so good. Then she went on to tell me that because this family is so fabulously wealthy that they were going to pay $15 per hour, plus bonuses for doing a good job. This description is getting better by the second, I think to myself! I'd be making more as an inexperienced nanny than I was as a degree-toting marketing coordinator. Then, the lady drops this bomb: There is a combined total of 8 children. First of all... wtf 8 kids? Are they the children of a famous Austrian sea captain who respond by whistle calls? And what does this lady mean by "combined"? Second of all, this woman very freely volunteered information that this family is very wealthy, so how on earth would it seem appropriate to charge a measly $15 for 4x the amount of children it would normally account for? Now, I do not know the ages or circumstances of this family because it sounded like the lady I was speaking to wanted to keep the conversation brief and leave the details for an interview tomorrow. Needless to say, I'm definitely going on that interview because I am so curious!!

My question is primarily this: Assuming these kids are, let's say, 14 and younger, is $15 ph an appropriate amount of money for a live-out nanny?? Is it even appropriate if the kids are 17 and younger? I feel like the common sense answer would be NO WAY, but because I am new to this industry I would get a consensus about nanny wages per kid / per age. And just for my frame of reference, have any of you worked for a family of more than 5 children? Was it manageable, or did it drive you bonkers? Were you paid more than $15 ph?

Thanks for your help, and I will TOTALLY be updating you guys on the details of this family tomorrow when I get back from the interview.


  1. Is it possible that they are not there all of the time?

  2. I don't know if I could look after 8 children by myself. If they are so fabulously wealthy, why doesn't each child have her/his own nanny?

    I don't know why, but I guess by the time they add on the time they are going to add on, you'll be lucky to be making $10 an hour, if that.

    The rich get richer by being really, really cheap, and stealing. Don't you watch the news?

  3. I worked part time for two different families with 4 kids each over the summer. One paid $15 and the other paid $16. Neither of the families was "fabulously wealthy" but the one that paid $15 was MUCH wealthier than the $16/hr family AND required MUCH more and had harder children to care for. It was easily a $17-18/hr job some days. The $16 family was more like a $13/hr job. It's been my observation that the people who have the least to share are usually the most generous.

    The $15/hr family referred me to another family of 4 to babysit and that family is most definitely fabulously wealthy and they nickel and dimed me. It was weird. (Not to mention they left me alone for 4 hrs w/ their 2 yr old daughter 10 min after I walked in the door for the first time. That also struck me odd since I was supposed to do an interview and then she called at the last minute and asked if I could work instead.) But I digress.

    You have a lot to ask in the interview...how old are the kids? How much time are all 8 of them there? I'm assuming it's a mixed marriage thing...his, hers and theirs. So it's possible that 3 are at dads one wk and 3 are at moms the next week and 2 are at the house all the time for example. I'd want a working interview (paid) of at least 4 hrs as well. You'll get a good feel of the family dynamic. Talk with the current nanny too!! One thing I noticed in my experience is when you have that many kids, you want them OUT OF THE HOUSE as much as possible because otherwise it's fight fight fight all day long. GET THEM OUT!! And make sure the parents will support you with that.

  4. Welcome to the dark sideSep 24, 2011, 10:47:00 PM

    I personally would not care for more than 3 children. The job I have now is for an infant and a 2 year old but I rarely have them at the same time. When I do, it is pure chaos. I keep calm and get through it but it's not something I would do full time! I consider myself a great nanny but I know my strengths and juggling is not one of them. Like you said, there are many details of this job that you need to find out. For starters, the ages of the children are very important. As you know, children of different ages require different levels of care so that will definitely play a factor in whether or not you take the job. It also depends on what you like. Some people like a lot going on with lots to do and others like a calm environment. You also need to find out how many kids you would be watching at once. If there are teenagers, they usually are self-sufficient, but if they are all young, that could be a bit much.

    As for the money, I don't think a family offering $15 per hour seems fabulously wealthy, especially for 8 kids. I wouldn't settle for less than $20 an hour, personally.

    Since you have stated that you are new to this industry, just make sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew. As a nanny, I am aware that many people think being a nanny is easy. It is a great job with great perks but it is a job nonetheless and requires much effort. If this job ends up being something you consider (or any other potential job that comes along) definitely do a working interview so you get a taste of what it's really like. I commend you for trying something new! Good luck!

  5. It's odd that the nanny planner kept saying the family is "fabulously wealthy" but yet they are only offering 15 an hour for 8 kids. My guess is that it is a combined total between the mother and father and all 8 kids would not be there at 1 time. But then again people word things weird. I agree that you need to do a "working interview" were you are paid to come over hang out with the family and see how things are. Since you are a first time nanny this sounds like a situation not for an inexperienced nanny. As the post above me said people believe being a nanny is a easy job. Sure it can be fun playing with kids but there is much more in the job description. Whatever you do make sure you have a contract that outlines EVERYTHING from pay/hours to responsibilities. It is VERY important especially when dealing with this amount of children. You do not want the family to tack on housekeeping to your responsibilities. And if you are indeed caring for 8 children at 1 time 15 an hour is NOT worth it especially if the family is SO wealthy. Also please update with how the interview went and what the job details are. I am curious as well:)

  6. Sounds like they are low balling you. I agree that $20/hour is more reasonable. In my opinion the going rate (for Chicago) is $14/1 child - $15/2 children - $16/3 children - and continue adding $1/child after that. Some families pay a little more, I'm paid $2 more for each additional child.

    But it would depend on if you have them all at the same time vs. picking up/dropping off/running activities/juggling nap schedules/etc. It may be better to work out a salary deal based on when, where, and how many kids you will have at any given time.

  7. I want to warn you that this may be a scam...it sounds really weird to me and I think you should meet them at a public place. I use CL to find jobs, and I find a lot of scams regarding childcare on it. The fact that the woman is saying this family is wealthy and she insists on saying it over and over, plus the fact that she wants to keep the conversation brief are HUGE red flags to me. Do not go into their home...please meet them at a coffee shop or playground/park. It just sounds too weird to me and I worry they are up to no good here.

    Please write us an update so I know you are okay Dear.

  8. sllb3334...you are hot.

  9. Mrs. Billy Lamar...

    I was thinking the same thing. I hope she read your post and takes your advice. I would be scared to death to get a job through Craigslist.

    Additionally, I would never take a job with that many kids, in any combination, for any price.

  10. I'm almost positive if they have 8 kids and are "fabulously wealthy" they have more than one nanny. Consider how you feel about working with other nannies.

  11. I agree with Mrs. B.L., this sounds fishy, mainly because the woman gave you so little information, and this doesn't sound like a job that would suit someone with no nanny experience.
    If it is legitimate however, and they are a wealthy family with 8 children, you would be working with staff. At least a full time housekeeper and more than one nanny. Older kids tend to go to different schools, and have different after school activities so more than one adult needs to be available for pickup, plus someone at home with any babies and toddlers.

  12. Fabulously wealthy people do not hire nannies off of craigslist. They hire an agency that is experienced at finding nannies appropriate for the fabulously wealthy, and the agency does the hiring. In only an extremely rare circumstance would a high end agency advertise a job for very wealthy people on craigslist.

    Was the person you spoke to an agency rep? If so, that makes this whole thing slightly less stinky, but still....

    Do NOT meet anyone associated with this job anywhere that is not fully public. Do not meet them somewhere and then go to the home. Get the parents full names and employers so you can google them/facebook search them/linkedIN search them/etc. and check them out as much as possible.

    Good luck, and be careful. And yes, $15 per hour is way low if you will be the sole nanny.

  13. OP here!

    Thanks for all of your advice and general concern for my well being. I appreciate it!

    As far as recent developments go, I did go for the interview with the employment agency representative (the lady with whom I had briefly spoken to over the phone.) UNFORTUNATELY, at that point she STILL didn't have any further details about the family. As she tried to explain it to me, she goes way back with this family because her employment agency usually does the staffing for the companies owned by the DB. Apparently MB called employment agency lady at home one night and said, "We're firing our au pair. Please find a new one." And that was that. It wasn't until 4 days after my preliminary interview that I got a phone call confirming that I would be caring for only 3 of the 8 kids. Ages, unknown. Other extremely important information, also unknown.

    I really don't know who is to blame in this situation, whether the family or the employment agency, but there is a LOT of disorganization here. I made it very clear what kind of details I needed to know about the requirements of this position, and the fact that it is one full week later and I still don't even know the childrens' ages is a bad sign.

    I might have to pass up on the Family Von Trapp and hope another opportunity comes along soon.

  14. Amy Darling ♥ ♫Sep 26, 2011, 8:53:00 AM

    OP...I am glad you are okay.

    You are going with your instincts and that is ALWAYS a good thing to do.

    I want to wish you the best of luck in your search. You sound like an awesome Nanny and I am sure it will only be a matter of time before you find your Dream Family!! ♥ ♫

  15. OP, do you live in OK? I swear I've had that exact same phone conversation with a nanny agency I found off craigslist. You were a hell of a lot more trusting than I was though! I emailed her my resume and she wanted me to send her a picture, "preferably one with a child, so the family can see my caring nature." Uh, no. I don't want to get sued by former employers, thanks.

    I had to clap my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud over that family Von Trapp comment! If DB wasn't working from home, I probably would have!

  16. ♥♥ Leslie ♥♥Sep 26, 2011, 2:52:00 PM

    I HATE looking for a Nanny via Craigslist. I am so freakin' tired of being scammed.

    I get so many false responses and it is getting more and more difficult to figure out who is legit on this site and who is not.

    Care.com and sitter.city are better, however I have met some scam artists on these sites as well.

    My family I work for now I met through a local Nanny agency. I didn't have to shell out a penny, but they do take some of my paycheck. ◄

  17. Leslie...

    What kind of nanny agency do you work for that takes part of your paycheck? That is NOT standard practice. Usually the parents pay a fee to the agency for matching them up with a nanny. The nanny shouldn't pay a dime to the agency.

    Also, what type of scam did you experience with care.com? I'm dealing with them now and would like to know what to look for if there are scammers on there. I actually have an interview with a family through them on Wednesday. I googled both parents and they seem to be legit.

  18. Oh god don't get into the Nanny business!! Get into any other career. Trust me!! You never go up the Nanny Ladder. The pay stinks and people look down on you. Plus, I hope you are not planning to do this your whole life. It is a really depressing field.

    Girl you have a degree. Please, don't give up!!

  19. new jersey girl...

    I sincerely disagree with you. I'm sorry you've bad experiences. But how well a nanny's career goes really does depend on a number of factors, including region and how professionally the nanny conducts herself. The people who are taken advantage of are either new to the field, or just not assertive enough to stand up for themselves.

    As many on this site can attest, it is possible to have a satisfying nanny career.

  20. Hi Wow

    Yes, if you are lucky enough to work with great employers thats awesome!!
    I also understand the economy is awful right now. Sometimes, we have to search outside our "box" for different employment opportunties.

  21. I have to admit Jersey Girl is right. People do look down on us Nannies and it is hard to progress up the ladder. One job may be working for a nice family w/great pay and benefits...then that family puts their child into pre-school and the Nanny is ALWAYS back at square one. Sure...she may get lucky and get a referral, but once she starts with another family, she will be making entry level pay until she can prove herself once again (!)

    I do not think this is a field I will be in forever..God I hope not. I am doing it while going to college at the same time. In fact, being a Nanny makes me get better grades in school, because I know without my degree, I will be stuck in a dead-end job like being a Nanny when I get older and I do not want that.

  22. I agree with those who say being a nanny is a dead in job. There is no advancement, you will never stay with the same family for the rest of your career and more likely after to move on after three years. God forbid you decide to have children then your entire nanny career is out the window because very few want to hire a nanny who brings their own child nor can most nannies afford daycare for their child based on the income they receive. Also once your a certain age you will have a difficult time finding a job especially since you never stay with one family until you retire. Not to mention that benefits are not constant and you have no 401k.

    Being a nanny is a great profession for someone in college or just out and maybe someone who already has grown children. Its also great if you have a spouse who is the primary bread winner.

    I plan on nannying maybe five more years then becoming a SAHM until my children are in school full-time. Once they are in school I'll use my degree and start my career. It may be later in life but I rather not jump in a field just to stop while I have kids.

  23. I am not putting anyone down. Its just that I have taken care of kids for over 15 years. I am not appreciated. The pay is not that good. I was happier when I was working in a private school with disabled kids. You are treated like a real person. Plus, I was paid pretty well and had benefits. The only reason why I left was to start a family. I really hope I can get back in the school system after six years!!

  24. I just have to chime in here, because I agree being a nanny is a dead-end job, but only in the strictest definition. All the reasons Bostonnanny mentioned are right. But I totally disagree that we are looked down upon. Maybe by members outside of the nanny community, but who cares what they think? Those of us who have been doing this job for quite some time can mostly all agree that we've had some great jobs and we've had some terrible jobs. Sometimes our boss-parents do look down on us and treat us badly. But you know what? If you continually allow that to happen, you have no one to blame but yourself. It is like that in any other employment field, sometimes you'll get the good boss and sometimes you'll be stuck in the office from hell. And may I remind everyone here, we caregivers did not go into this role for the money. If we wanted to make money, we would have chosen a different employment field, plain and simple. So whining about pay and benefits doesn't fly with me, you knew what you were getting into.

  25. I forgot to point out the most important thing I wanted to say: job fulfillment. Nannying has been the most rewarding career I've ever had and I look forward to seeing my Baby K every morning. That kind of feeling outweighs just about anything else you can throw at me, and if you don't get it from your job, you definitely need to change careers. But don't tell others not to be a nanny just because you didn't like it.

  26. Who is whining here?? Not me just stating my opinion.

  27. Well put Miss Mannah!
    So many of the women in high paying careers are stressed out and miserable. I often overhear moms talking about how they hate their jobs. I feel so fortunate to wake up in the morning and look forward to my day.
    As for nannies starting over at the bottom when they start a new job; that is not true in my area. There is a huge salary spread between beginning nannies and those with a lot of qualifications and experience. Once you reach the higher salary level, you will be in demand by families who want a top nanny and are prepared to pay a top salary.
    I had another career before I became a nanny, and I will move on when I get too old and creaky to run around the playground, but if you love working with children it can be a very satisfying job!

  28. I'm a nanny (have been qualified for 2.5years) But am still a beginner in the job way.. I am looking for a nanny job but i don't know where to begin. there's so many Agency's (I live in New Zealand).. If anyone has any advice please go to my blog and leave a comment or message me!??

    @ OP glad your okay have you heard back yet?

  29. NJG, perhaps whining was the wrong term. Let's see if I can come up with something better.

    "The pay stinks and people look down on you. It is a really depressing field."

    "I am not appreciated. The pay is not that good."

    Hmm, if that's not complaining, I don't know what is.

    Manhattan, unfortunately it is not like that everywhere. I've got 10 years' experience and I'm qualified, yet barely making over minimum wage. But like I said, I don't do it for the money or esteem. I encourage anyone who loves kids to get into the nanny field, if they can keep things in perspective and not expect to be rolling in the dough.

  30. Miss Mannah: I am glad you like your job so much and that you are not in it for the money, but how can you deny that being a Nanny is a dead end job? Everyone knows it is..it is a fact. By dead end, I mean there is no room for any type of advancement. After say three years with a loving and caring family, once they no longer are in need of your services (as will happen as children do grow up), you are back to square one again. How can you deny this?

  31. Nanny Sarah, perhaps you should read my posts a little more closely. I will quote myself a few lines up.

    "I agree being a nanny is a dead-end job"

    Can I get any more clear than that?


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